09 January, 2013

I Now Pronounce You Oneshoeshy

A couple of weeks ago I posted this photo of my grandson to FaceBook and made a reference to Oneshoeshy. Evidently not everyone understood. Here's the story behind the name - originally posted in June of 2011.

I generally try to stay upbeat in these posts, and for me what follows is upbeat. It may, however, seem a little sad to some of you, and I apologize in advance if it
strikes you that way. Now that I have explained the meaning (see The Lost Symbolism) behind this blog's one-time subtitle (you can still see it represented in the url), some of you - ever curious - may have wondered what "Oneshoeshy" is all about. Why do I use that as a handle? Does it symbolize something as well? Of course, it does.

No, I haven't misplaced a shoe. There is other meaning behind it, but it would not be obvious. It relates to one of my physical challenges – in particular the absence of sensory or motor function in my left arm and hand (the result of nerve scarring following repeated courses of radiation therapy). "But wait," you say. "It reads 'shoe' not glove or sleeve."

Yeah, I know. In the old days when we mostly used AOL Instant Messaging, my name was Bedwyr Bedrydant. Some of you know him as Sir Bedivere (or Bedevere), one of King Arthur’s Knights of Roundtable. My name translates from Welsh as Bedivere of the Perfect Sinews which is ironic as you'll see, and some of my maternal ancestors were Raglands (from Raglan Castle near Cardiff in Wales).

I selected Sir Bedivere, in particular, for a number of reasons. First, he may have been based on a real person. Second, at least one medieval description said this of him: "and although he was one-handed, no three warriors drew blood in the same field faster than he." This, of course, was the most important reason. Third, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Sir Bedevere the Wise is portrayed as a master of the extremely odd logic of ancient times. He exclaims at one point "... and that ... is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped." You have to love it.

           Sir Bedivere on right in blue.

So I identified with the Welsh connection, his possible reality, the one-handed competence, and the sense of humor. He was also the one who, at a dying King Arthur's request, threw Excalibur back to the Lady of the Lake. That's cool too.

"But, Thom, Oneshoeshy?" Well, a few years ago I was engaged in a fair amount of eBay selling and needed an alias and an email address separate from my work email. As I played with the cute and the catchy and the literate, I found nothing I liked. I wanted something that resonated with Bedwyr and all that it meant to me. Onehand, Onehanduseless, Righty, Lefty, Oneglove, etc., - none of those possessed the je ne sais quoi that I wanted.

Then "Oneshoeshy" just sort of popped into my head. Had it been "Onegloveshy," my friends would have "got it," but at the same time, it might have been a little too direct for comfort. Since I knew my own story, "Oneshoeshy" resonated with me. I knew it was a reference to my hand, and I didn’t particularly care whether others knew that or not. I was certain, however, that others would see it as rhythmic and with a nice ring to it, and they have.

Can you say it without smiling? I can't, and if you say it repeatedly, you sound like The Little Engine That Could - an enduring metaphor for a powerful philosophy of life.